A CENTURY ago the first purpose-built school in East Howe opened in Kinson Road, Bournemouth.

East Howe Elementary was a mixed school catering for 129 pupils between the ages of five to 14 under the headmastership of William Henry Thomas.

“The only schools in the area at the time were St Mark’s at Talbot Village and Kinson School,” said Ray Cozins of the East Howe/Kingsleigh Association.

Two year earlier Dorset Education Committee seeing a need for a school in East Howe acquired land in Kinson Road and applied for planning permission to build a new school. But as the population was growing rapidly a temporary school had to be set up in a disused Congregational Chapel in East Howe Lane.

By 1937 a new school had been built on land off Kinson Road. Pupils from the age of 11 were taught at the two single sex schools, East Howe Girls and East Howe Boys Secondary Schools.

“The roadway leading to the new school was later named Hadow Road after Sir William Hadow who produced the Hadow Report on Education, recommending the introduction of secondary schools and raising the school leaving age to 15,” said Ray.

Thirty-three former pupils of the East Howe Boys School died in the Second World War.

Their names are on a war memorial honours board unveiled at the school in 1952 by a former headmaster Cllr Herbert Gladdis, who lost his son, pilot officer John Gladdis of the 224 Squadron, Royal Air Force in the conflict in 1940.

Also named are William Willis and Norman Cherry who served with the Royal Navy and died after their ships were torpedoed by the Germans, plus Leslie Batchelor who was killed along with 13 of his workmates when the Branksome Gas Works was bombed in 1941.

“We know when most of the men left school and which branch of the armed forces some of them joined – but little else,” said Ray.

If anyone has information on any of the men on the honours board or photographs of the infant and junior school please can they contact him at ray.cozins@btinternet.com

Pupils who left the school in 1941 gave the school a Leslie Batchelor Shield in memory of their classmate, to be presented annually to the student that had made an outstanding contribution to sport at the school.

In 1967 the two single sex schools amalgamated to become Kingsleigh Secondary School. After a major refurbishment in 2000 the school was re-named Kings High School and 10 years later became the Bourne Academy.

A reunion dinner for all former pupils and staff of the East Howe Kingsleigh Schools is planned for May 25 at the Heathlands Hotel.

• For further information contact Lynne Light on 576568 or at chris.light@ntlworld.com.